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US drone strikes kill 5 al-Qaida members in Yemen

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-08-11 09:28

ADEN, Yemen - Up to five al-Qaida militants were killed Saturday evening when US drone strikes hit their vehicles in Yemen's southern province of Lahj, a security official told Xinhua.

The air raid targeted an al-Qaida convoy of two pick-up trucks in the eastern suburbs of Lahj province, killing at least five terrorists at the scene, the local security official said on condition of anonymity.

"Two air strikes were launched by a US aircraft and completely destroyed two cars carrying suspected al-Qaida members in the valley of Bana in Lahj's suburbs, and killed five. Some of the dead were believed to be foreign nationals," the source said.

Local sources told Xinhua that two drones are still hovering over the area, creating panic among the residents.

Washington intensified its drone strikes on al-Qaida network in Yemen after it closed its diplomatic mission in Sanaa last Sunday.

About 34 suspected al-Qaida militants were killed by US drone attacks in less than two weeks in different regions of the country, according to Yemeni government officials.

The Yemeni government has boosted security presence around Western embassies in the capital as precautionary measures after the United States and Britain temporarily evacuated their diplomatic staff from Sanaa on Tuesday over alert of possible attacks by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

AQAP was founded in January 2009 after the merger of Saudi and Yemeni branches.

The network is led by Yemeni militant Nasser al-Wuhayshi, who declared in July 2011 the group's allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri, head of the worldwide al-Qaida network, after the death of its founder Osama bin Laden in 2011.

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